Seed and seedling traits have strong impacts on establishment of perennial bunchgrass in invaded semi-arid systems
The best seed sources for restoration of Elymus elymoides in invaded sites were populations with longer roots, larger seeds and earlier emergence. These easily measured traits were strong predictors of survival in disturbed field sites. While the most successful populations were found in areas with similar abiotic conditions as planting sites, there was phenotypic variation even among populations originating from locations with similar conditions. Thus, our results indicate that abiotic conditions are important considerations when selecting seeds, but these conditions may not sufficiently predict which populations will establish. Understanding population differences in seedling functional traits can improve predictions of restoration success.